Kaiser Chiefs released their new album – The Future is Medieval – with a really intriguing twist on the digital download.
Their special microsite features a series of odd contraptions that enable fans to create their own unique versions of the album. The first (pictured above) lets fans choose their 10 favourites tracks from the 20 new songs. The second (pictured below) allows them to design their own take on the album artwork. Once complete the album can be downloaded for just £7.50. The real twist is what happens next.
Everyone’s finished album comes with its own unique fan page where everyone else can see, hear and even buy copies of each others albums. Users are encouraged to build sales by emailing their fan page URL to friends, there are buttons to help spread the word on Facebook and Twitter, posters for downloading and even banner ads for those with blogs. The reward for all this awareness is that successful fans earn themselves £1 for every copy of their version they sell.
There has been a fair bit of criticism that the band have copped out, unable to select an album’s worth of strong tracks and artificially boosting sales by relying on the completist tendencies of fans to buy numerous versions. This seems harsh to say the least, and instead we should be enjoying the innovation and creativity that at least some parts of the music industry is at last bringing to the challenge of the digital world.
For an insider’s view of the website, check out the wieden + kennedy london blog.